Uncomfortable conversations is what we need

Reading a story in the SF Chron about the ongoing battle over Gay rights I saw a phrase from the late Harvey Milk that really caught my imagination.  

Uncomfortable conversations.

My dust-up over the fate of DATE last week is finally petering out, but what I ended up getting out of it is that we are still trying to avoid the truly uncomfortable conversation in the semiconductor industry.  We still want to pursue a philosophical discussion about how important our technologies are but we don't want to talk about what our fiscal responsibility is to expand that discussion beyond our little coffee klatch. 

10 years ago we didn't want to discuss the fact that our media was dying from lack of proper investment from the industry.  Now we don't want to discuss the fact that lack of investment will probably kill the last form of industry forum (trade shows and technical conferences) for the same reason.  We are still holding on to the false belief that the existence of our technologies is enough for them to succeed.

I've said it before and I'll keep saying it:  If you do not understand, invest in and execute effective communications efforts it doesn't matter how effective, exciting or important your technology is.  Until we start putting serious effort into that, we will continue in this recession.  The only survivors will be those who are making that kind of investment and effort.  This is true for start-ups, established private and public companies, industry forums and, maybe more importantly, the investment community.

This is the uncomfortable conversation that needs to begin and begin in earnest.